Characterizing Communication Patterns between Audiences and Newsbots

Diego Gómez-Zará*, Nicholas Diakopoulos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

News organizations are increasingly exploring how the use of newsbots can enhance journalism by enabling novel ways to disseminate news and engage with audiences in social media environments. While newsbots have begun to draw attention in journalism studies, little consideration has been given to how audiences perceive and respond to newsbots. Through the lens of human–machine communication (HMC), this article presents a case study of a newsbot interacting with Twitter users who shared news articles from the New York Times (NYT). In particular, we analyzed the Twitter users’ perceptions and responses to the newsbot using qualitative analysis. We found that Twitter users perceived the newsbot in several degrees: from ignoring it, to addressing the content curated by the newsbot, to responding to newsbot itself. Moreover, we found that Twitter users offered a range of opinions, personal experiences, facts, counter-arguments, and affective displays when they addressed the content or the newsbot. We discuss how newsbots can be effective tools to enhance news engagement, the obstacles that they face when they interact in online environments, and reflect on the range of communicative roles that newsbots play with online audiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1093-1113
Number of pages21
JournalDigital Journalism
Volume8
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Newsbots
  • Twitter
  • human machine communication
  • news comments
  • news engagement
  • social bots

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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